Scotland, population 5.3 million, has joined Wales and North Ireland as the third member of the British-Irish Council to charge shoppers for single-use shopping bags used in stores. By mandate, each shopper is to be charged 5p for each single-use bag.
Stores are required to donate the funds collected from the bags to charity.
There are reporting requirements according to the law. Smaller stores must post a sign in the store or other public statement regarding the disposition of the bags.
Larger stores will be required to report to the government how many bags they’ve distributed to patrons and how much money was donated to charity.
It is curious that with employment being a concern throughout the whole of Great Britain that a regulation would come out to increase operating costs for retail businesses both in terms of managing the funds collected, charitable donations, and regulatory compliance.
The government believes the measure will lead to a cleaner environment given that discarded bags are often seen on streets and highways.
The most recent statistics show that in the year 2011, British retailers handed out over 8 billion bags.
Advocates of the measure say the regulatory measure has been implemented in other countries with success.
Steve Petellis started working for Buffalo Morning Star in 2016. Steve grew up in a small town in northern Michigan. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. He has been a proud New Yorker for the past 5 years. Steve covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and The Public.